While normally a big proponent of Lady Gaga’s style and music, I find that her new video for “Alejandro” in an almost insulting attempt at tribute that just comes across as poor pastiche. Like a bad, local theatre troupe remake of “Vogue”, “Express Yourself”, and “Erotic” by Madonna, mixed with elements from Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation”. It looks like the so called “queen of originality” has tread into the murky waters of the faux-homage, an area best left to sitcom clip episodes and Simpson’s Halloween specials. I far more enjoy her stylized take on the music video as short film, her unorthodox choreography. Though she started to delve into over-borrowing with her video for “Telephone”, at least those references to Tarantino films and the girls in prison genre were either inserted with subtlety and intelligence, or placed in the video with such over the top abandon that it worked more as clever parody and witty stylization than the disappointing “Allejandro”, which just reeks of ripoff.
It’s ironic that the release of Christina Aguilera’s new video for “Not Myself Tonight” should coincide so closely with the release of “Allejandro”. In one video flat Aguilera is able to both out Madonna and out GaGa Lady Gaga herself. While one could make the argument that Aguilera is also referencing several elements that Madonna used regularly in her videos: The religious imagery of “Like A Prayer” and the fetish fashions, start white backgrounds, and similar interaction of “Human Nature”, And the direct reference to “Express Yourself” that presents itself in the monocle scenes its at least seems more well done, genuine, and energetic than GaGa’s near narcoleptic attempt. Aguilera did have some help crafting such an exciting piece though, in the form of Hype Williams, one of the most celebrated music video directors… ever.
I was much more impressed by the new Aguilera video. Several factors are superior, the music, the fashion, and the choreography. all of which is ironic considering it was the original feud between Aguilera and GaGa that started GaGa’s meteoric rise to the top, perhaps this is the beginning of Christina’s comeback, Aguilera was once considered to be one of the edgier pop stars before being unseated by the extravagant and more intelligently promoted Gaga, though in many ways it appears the Aguilera is still the stronger vocalist. I hope that Lady GaGa continues her rise to the top and inspires an epochal change in video styling, fashion, and the branding of pop-stars. GaGa may indeed go on to win the war, but as for this battle, chalk on up for Miss Aguilera.